In this series we’re going to go through the biggest and most common mistakes I see athletes and newer coaches make when designing programmes for olympic weightlifting.

Today, we’re looking at the mistake of not providing enough frequency for the specific weightlifting movements.


Weightlifting mistakes

What Do We Mean By Frequency in weightlifting?


•The amount of times you train per week

•In weightlifting, specifically the amount of times you train the snatch, clean & jerk, and their close variations

Full Video of this article if you prefer…

Why is Frequency Important in Weightlifting?


  • Skill acquisition literature is very clear, practicing skills more often improves learning speed and increases technical mastery
  • In weightlifting, if you don’t practice the movements often enough, you won’t have the technical skill to perform at your best
  • There are also specific speed-strength and positional strength characteristics that can only be trained with the weightlifting movements themselves – you can’t just get good by doing back extensions!

How little is too little frequency in weightlifting?

  • Programmes in which you snatch less than twice per week, or clean & jerk less than twice per week, are likely NOT providing enough frequency.
  • This includes the main lifts and CLOSE variations. So exercises like hang snatches would count. But probably not things like drop snatches.
  • In other words, at least twice per week you need to be performing lifts that are as close as possible to the snatch and clean & jerk

Looking for An Olympic Weightlifting Programme?

Weightlifting programme

I’ve put together a 13-week classic weightlifting programme.

It utilises the best evidence-based practice and focuses on the exercises, sets and reps proven to work, whilst cutting out the fluff and filler.

It also comes with full instructions, Q&A access, and a guide to auto-regulation/individualisation.

You can learn more about the programme by clicking right here.

Practical Recommendations for Olympic Weightlifting Frequency

Aim to perform the weightlifting movements frequently. Typically, I have my athletes perform them around 3-4 times per week. Which might look like…

Monday: Snatch, Hang Clean & Jerk

Wednesday: Hang Snatch, Clean & Jerk

Friday: Power Snatch, Power Clean

Saturday: Snatch, Clean & Jerk

+ Strength work and assistance exercises. This is only a rough example to demonstrate the concept.

Olympic Weightlifting Training Frequency Questions

How often do weightlifters workout?

Well, that largely depends on the level of the lifter. Elite weightlifters typically train 6-9 times per week. Whereas intermediate lifters train 4-5 times per week and beginner weightlifters train 2-3 times per week.

These are certainly not set in stone, they’re just what I’ve tended to see from years of coaching and observation.

How many days a week should I do Olympic weightlifting?

This is a much better question. Tailor your training frequency to what you can realistically handle on a consistent basis. If you’re in your late teens or early 20’s, maybe with a few hours of college per week, you can probably handle a lot of training. If you’re in your late 30’s or 40’s with a partner, kids and full time job, you might only be able to handle a couple of sessions per week.

Be honest about your own situation and adjust your training accordingly

Can you do Olympic lifts everyday?

You can, and most high-level lifters will. However, they will also carefully alternate between heavier/harder days and lighter/easier days so as to allow for proper recovery. For example…

Monday: Heavy snatches and cleans

Tuesday: Light muscle snatches and muscle cleans

Wednesday: Moderate weight hang snatches and hang cleans

Next Up

1) Check Out Weightlifting Programming Mistakes Lecture #2 – Not Enough Strength Work

2) If you want programming done for you, check out my custom programme service, or my pre-written weightlifting programmes.

‘Til Next Time